Coach asks India to knock out Argentina

After India reached the final of the Azlan Shah hockey tournament, coach AK Bansal asked his boys to deliver the winning punch against Argentina.

updated: May 20, 2008 12:56 IST
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High on confidence after winning four matches on the trot, Indian team chief coach AK Bansal has asked his boys to forget their league loss to Argentina and deliver the winning punch against the Latin Americans in the Azlan Shah Hockey final here on Sunday.

India beat hosts Malaysia 2-1 to reach the Azlan Shah final after a gap of 12 years and set up a summit clash against Argentina.

The Latin American giants had beaten the Indians 5-1 in the league match but Bansal feels that his now closely-knit team could turn the tables and get the revenge.

"That (the league loss) was when we were unsettled. We formed the team here in Ipoh after another batch of players joined us from Australia. So, there was some coordination problem. Now that the team is gelling well, I don't think Argentina will have an easy match," Bansal said.

Argentina is the only undefeated team in the tournament so far but the Indian coach has found out the chinks in their armory to be exploited by his boys.

"We have now watched all the matches of Argentina, and have a fair idea of their strengths and weaknesses. Technical Director Charlesworth is giving valuable inputs by making videos of all their matches.

"We will sit together tonight and work out the strategy. But one thing is sure, tomorrow's match will be altogether different. We have long forgotten the pool game (against Argentina)," the Indian chief coach asserted.

Bansal also dismissed the view that his team was over dependent on penalty corners to win matches.

"We have so far proved our strength in the penalty corners. Might prove our other strengths. I feel our forwards are picking up, they had co-ordination problem in the first spell, now the time has come for them to deliver," he said.

"My manager Pargat Singh should now be happy as our midfield functioned like a well oiled machine today," Bansal added in a lighter vein on Pargat's concern on the midfield lacking the coordination.

Bansal gave indications that he won't change much in the team line up tomorrow but said he might rest both the wingers Sarwanjit Singh and Gurwinder Singh Chandi tomorrow and brought in V Raghunath, who was sparingly used.